Did you know that the average American watches more than 34 hours of television every week? That’s nearly 2.5 months of nonstop tv watching every year; meaning by the time you’re 50, you’ll have spent 10 entire years watching tv. And what are we gaining from that time? Well, not much. In fact, we’re actually losing. Looking for a few convincing reasons to watch less tv? Look no further!
Why to Watch Less TV
- It’s eating up our valuable time. Have you ever felt like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to squeeze in all of the activities, get-togethers, or even downtime that you’d like? Even if we’re not watching 34 hours a week, we’re spending time that we could be investing elsewhere, and into things we’d enjoy more. What if you used that extra day every week to exercise, spend time with family, pursue a hobby, or work toward fulfilling your dreams? How would your life be different?
- It’s negatively impacting our worldview and contentment. Tv programming sets unrealistic expectations of love, sex, friendship, money, careers, success, and more. And while we might tell ourselves that we know it’s fiction, the Journal of Economic Psychology found that tv viewers experience lower life satisfaction, higher material aspirations, and more anxiety.
- It’s actually very stressful. A huge argument for regularly watching tv is that it provides a chance to “zone out” and relax. But that’s not actually accurate. The constant motion, bright lights, and loud sounds of our favorite tv shows are highly stimulating, and require our attention and focus. All of these factors combine to demand more of our energy, leaving us feeling tired and drained instead of relaxed.
- It’s taking us away from the real people all around us. When we’re glued to a screen watching fictional relationships, we miss out on conversations, bonding, and memory making with the real people in our lives. Sure, sometimes it’s fun to bond with my husband over a movie rental. But what’s the actual quality of that bonding time if we only speak a few words to each other? And what about when we zone out in front of reruns? Are we bonding then? We’re usually only half-heartedly watching while we silently scroll social media feeds.
- It’s wrecking our health. Binge-watching often leads to binge eating, usually of fast food or junk food. Combine that with excessive sitting or laying on the couch, and the mindless eating that usually occurs in front of a screen, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a health disaster.
- It’s costing us money. When we add up the cost of cable/satellite, streaming services, subscriptions, Blu-rays/DVDs, rentals, and sound systems, plus the cost of electricity to run it all, we’re already shelling out a good chunk. Now consider how television affects our spending habits. Studies have found that tv viewers spend more on advertised products and services, as well as on trying to maintain certain aspects of the unrealistic lifestyles portrayed on television.
How to Watch Less TV
I don’t know about you, but all of these reasons make me want to watch less tv. I don’t intend to cut it out completely. After all, I do enjoy and follow several series, and I need Daniel Tiger to hold my 3-year-old’s attention long enough for me to do the dishes. So what are some practical ways to watch less tv that don’t require us moving to a monastery in Tibet?
- First, try watching only the shows and movies you’re genuinely interested in. Keep watching your favorite dramas or reality shows. There’s nothing wrong with following characters and wanting (okay, needing) to know what happens to them. (Rick Grimes, stay alive!) But if you’ve flipped through 250 channels and nothing looks interesting to you, turn off the tv rather than watching something that’s just okay.
- Next, try setting rules for when you’ll watch. Maybe you won’t watch tv while you’re eating meals together as a family. Or maybe you won’t turn on the tv at all until 8:00 pm. Maybe you’ll only watch two hours of tv a night, then switch gears to another activity. Your rules will depend on your preferences, schedule, and lifestyle.
- And finally, decide what you’re going to do instead of watching tv. One of the biggest challenges of watching less tv might be getting out of your normal routine of zoning out on the couch. Try starting a new family tradition of walking around the neighborhood after dinner, or playing basketball in the driveway. Find some fun local activities and add them to your calendar. Check out a new book from the library, start a game night tradition, or dive into that cool new hobby you’ve always wanted to try!
Wrap It Up
Tv is stealing our time, contentment, peace, relationships, health, and money. It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to say that only good things can come when we watch less tv. What are you going to do with your extra 34 hours?
P.S. Looking for some fantastic ways to destress that don’t involve a screen? Be sure to nab our free stress management ebook here!
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